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The Hustle

Name: Gabriella Schmid (The Clay Co-Op)

Posted By Keara McGraw

Gabriella "Gigi" Schmid and her partner Bo met in 2016 working at Sigma Glass here in St. Petersburg. Their shared love for creativity led them through a journey merged in art, culture and travel. After collaborating on glass and printmaking projects at TD Glass, they decided to explore new mediums to express their creativity. In 2019 she established Studio Gelato, merging ceramics and culinary delights, while Bo worked as a realtor and general contractor. Until, 2022, when they took over Charlie Parker Pottery, following the retirement of veteran St. Pete potter Charlie Parker. She had apprenticed with Parker at the St. Pete studio while she was studying ceramics at the University of Florida.

Years in Tampa Bay

I was born in England and arrived in Clearwater, Florida when I was 2 years old – so I’ve basically lived in Florida all my life. I moved to St. Petersburg, to work for a glass artist, after I graduated from the University of Florida in 2016.

Hustle (job)

I am a co-owner of The Clay Co-Op – a ceramic studio and gallery in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Pete.

What do you do?  

The Clay Co-Op is a clay studio and gallery space that supports and encourages collaboration among artists as they advance their craft and develop techniques. This leaves me in charge of a lot, from employing great staff, making sure the studio runs smoothly, teaching classes, ordering supplies, bookkeeping, managing memberships and curating the gallery.

Why do you do it?

Ceramics is my passion! I’m excited to get up every morning and see how my day develops as I grow my business. I love interacting with interesting and creative people and working on my own style of artistry. It absolutely gives me pleasure to work with this material and in its surrounding community.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

My grandma was a potter, so I loved playing with clay in her studio whenever I visited her in England. I studied ceramics at UF and worked for Charlie Parker Pottery for several years. You could say that clay is in my blood (as well as covering my clothes and shoes constantly).

When my partner, Bo, and I took over Charlie Parker Pottery (the structure on which we built what is now known as The Clay Co-Op), we spent several weeks renovating and revitalizing the studio. Our mission was to grow our membership base, increase class enrollment, and build out a more marketable gallery through which we could promote our emerging artists. We became a distributor for Standard Ceramic clay and underglazes as well as Mudtools and Kemper tools, which has made us a vital distribution center for the St. Pete ceramics community. None of this could have been achieved without the existing structure of Charlie Parker Pottery.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Running a studio is not as easy as it seems and the complexity and diversity of owning a small business takes constant adaptation. Also, being a young woman, people often underestimate my experience, commitment and perseverance.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

My most consistent struggle is finding enough hours in the day to get everything I need to get done!

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” (Nelson Mandela). To achieve my hopes for The Clay Co-Op, I bear in mind that happy customers help make a successful business. I am conscious that every studio member, staff, and visitor is essential in keeping our small business growing and thriving.


Everyone is welcome! We embrace the community and support and encourage collaboration among artists as they advance their craft and develop techniques. We foster a community that inspires creativity and discovery around the art and craft of clay.
We offer private and group classes on a drop-in basis, and date nights for couples looking for a unique night out. Our 4-8 week workshops, intermediate wheel throwing class, open studio time, and hand-building classes, are great for aspiring ceramicists who want to build their skills as artists. Atmospheric and reduction firings as well as private parties and events provide a unique, a la carte experience that can be tailored to every customer’s desires. We also offer membership studio rentals at competitive pricing, with 24-hour, 7-days-a-week access to the facility for artists who want to deeply immerse themselves in their craft.
The Clay Co-Op is the perfect fit for artists of any level, from those looking to utilize the studio for a hobby or to house their professional artistic brand.

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